WTO IP rights: The future of products combating COVID-19

The Biden Administration recently announced that it would support the request for a World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The Indian and South African waiver request covers a broad range of intellectual property (patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and industrial designs) and medical technologies (vaccines, medical devices, therapeutics, diagnostics/tests, PPE, ventilators, materials and components, etc.) related to research, development, manufacturing, and supply of medical products for combating COVID-19.

On Tuesday, June 15 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 4:00 p.m. CET, we held a discussion on the WTO waiver of IP rights with members from our Life Sciences and Health Care team, including International Trade, Intellectual Property, and Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Regulatory practices. Attendees heard about what this could mean for companies with innovative products and what actions can be taken. We discussed:

  • What is the WTO’s process for negotiating the terms of a TRIPS waiver?
  • What is the scope of the waiver request and what countries are impacted?
  • What are the implications for innovators of COVID-19-related technologies?
  • What does the future global access to COVID-19 vaccines look like?
  • What is next and what actions should companies be taking moving forward?

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